Splitting The Roll – Commercial And Industrial Property Owners May Face Significant California Property Tax Increases Starting As Early As The 2022-2023 Fiscal Year

California’s Proposition 13 prevents the assessed value of California real property from increasing by more than 2% per year, unless there is a change of ownership or completion of new construction.  On November 3, 2020, California voters will decide whether most commercial and industrial property should be removed from the protections of Proposition 13, with the result that such property would be subject to tax based on its fair market value. Continue Reading

Final Revisions to NEPA Regulations: Six Highlights from Major Rule Overhaul

The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) recently published a final rule (Rule) revising the implementing regulations for the National Environmental Quality Act (42 U.S.C. § 4321 et seq ) (NEPA).  Touted as the first comprehensive revision of CEQ’s NEPA regulations since their creation in 1978, the stated goal of the Rule includes facilitating more efficient, effective, and timely NEPA review by federal agencies. Continue Reading

California Court of Appeal Decision May Result in Big Tax Savings for Some Commercial Property Owners

In a decision that could save some commercial property owners hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes, the Court of Appeal for the First Appellate District of California held in 731 Market Street Owner, LLC v. City and County of San Francisco (Cal. Ct. App., June 18, 2020, No. A154369) that the City and County of San Francisco cannot impose a documentary transfer tax on the value of an assigned landlord-interest in a lease when the lease has a remaining term of at least 35 years.  The 35-year cutoff considers both the remaining initial term of the lease and unused extension options. Continue Reading

ULURP Clock Restarted

Today, New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio announced the long-awaited date for the City’s land use process (the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, or ULURP) to be officially restarted with the City Planning Commission’s first public review session scheduled for August 3, 2020 and the first public hearing scheduled for August 5, 2020.  All meetings , including Community Board, Borough President and the City Council, will take place virtually until further notice.  Information on public hearing schedules for the City Planning Commission, and how to participate in public hearings can be found at NYC Engage. Continue Reading

COVID-19 Alert: California’s Housing Bills to Boost Production

The California legislature is gearing up to adopt major real estate development incentives intended to boost the economy in the wake of COVID-19.  The recent outbreaks and general constraints on travel have compressed the state’s legislative Fall calendar.  Thus, leaders from both chambers have directed their members to prioritize policy proposals.  Finding ways to increase housing production, especially affordable housing, is emerging as the focus.

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Court of Appeal Rejects Challenge to LA’s Business Improvement Districts on Procedural Ground

At the end of June, in Hill RHF Housing Partners, L.P. v. City of Los Angeles, the Court of Appeal upheld the trial court’s denial of a challenge to the City of Los Angeles’s June 2017 establishment of the Downtown Center Business Improvement District (DCBID) and the San Pedro Historic Waterfront Business Improvement District (SPBID) (collectively, the LA BIDs), on the ground that the petitioners failed to exhaust administrative remedies – a jurisdictional prerequisite before seeking judicial review.  While the requirement for petitioners to exhaust administrative remedies is not new, Hills RHF Housing Partners, L.P. applied this well-established doctrine to a more nuanced set of laws applicable to the establishment of a business improvement district (BID). Continue Reading

Make No Mistake – Rent Control Laws Apply To Single-Family Homes

A recent California Appellate Court decision provided tenants with additional protections when it clarified that local rent control laws applied to a single-family home in which the landlord[1] rented rooms in the home to separate tenants despite the landlord’s belief that single-family homes were excepted from rent control laws. Specifically, in Owens v. City of Oakland Housing, Residential Rent and Relocation Board (“Owens”), Division Three of the First District of the California Court of Appeal clarified that the landlord’s argument that an exception to local rent control laws found in the Costa-Hawkins Housing Act (“Costa-Hawkins”) did not apply. Continue Reading

A Streamlined Process: Expedited Temporary Outdoor Dining Permits For NYC Restaurants

On March 22, 2020, Governor Cuomo issued an executive order that closed all non-essential businesses in New York State (the “Order”).  In connection with the Order, New York City restaurants were forced to reduce their operations to pick-up and delivery only.  On June 8, 2020, New York City entered into Phase I of the New York State reopening plan.  It is anticipated that sometime between June 22, 2020 and the beginning of July, 2020, New York City will enter into Phase II.  During Phase II, restaurants will not be allowed to serve patrons indoors, but will be permitted to commence service to patrons outdoors.  In the past, restaurants have only been allowed to serve patrons outdoors after obtaining a sidewalk café permit pursuant to zoning regulations issued by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (“DCA”). The outdoor café permit process is typically expensive, burdensome, time consuming and subject to zoning restrictions and community board approval.  However, a bill has been introduced at the New York City Council (the “Bill”) that will allow restaurants to apply for a Temporary Outdoor Space Dining Permit (a “Permit”) to serve patrons outdoors by utilizing sidewalks, pedestrian plazas, streets, parking lots and other public/private owned spaces. Continue Reading

Rethinking Sanitation: NYC Proposes Rule Affecting Large Residential Buildings

The New York City Department of Sanitation (“DSNY”) is proposing to amend its existing sanitation rules to require new and converted buildings classified as multiple dwelling buildings having 300 or more dwelling units to provide an enclosed “Waste Containerization System” that would support a garbage truck entering a building to pick up waste.  The purported goal of the proposed rule is to limit the large piles of garbage bags that are placed curbside on narrow sidewalks, accessible to rodents and other pests. Continue Reading

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